Head of English as an Additional Language, Ashford School
“I began my teaching career as an NQT in Romania, then qualified as a teacher at the Lower Danube University in Galați. I was working in a state school when I was offered the chance to take part in the HMC programme, which brought me to Ashford School in September 2007. I thought it would be a great one-off experience, but had no idea I would still be here many years later as Head of EAL."
"Over the last few years I have combined teaching English and History with being a Boarding Tutor, which means I live on the school campus with my family. To be honest, I am amazed to be in a position that I didn’t consider a possibility when starting out as a teacher. The level of trust the school’s leadership has placed in me makes me very proud. As part of the United Learning Middle Leader training programme, I have experienced some opportunities that are unlikely to be available in standalone schools, such as training in leadership and recruitment. I really value the guidance I've been given on choosing staff for my team, and motivating them to achieve the best results. I've attended group-wide events and learned a great deal from colleagues.
I truly enjoy helping EAL and international pupils get the most from the curriculum, watching them grow in confidence. We take a personalised approach to their support, and Ashford School was similarly supportive of me when I decided to settle in the UK. I have always had great people around me to help me meet every challenge and am excited that there is more that I can achieve here. At United Learning, we talk about bringing out the best in everyone – that applies equally to us as staff, as it does to our students.”
Deputy Head of English, Surbiton High School
“Having previously worked in a Surrey state school and a nearby independent school, I joined Surbiton High School as Deputy Head of English at the start of 2014."
"Since joining, I've been part of United Learning’s Middle Leader training programme, which has given me the opportunity to meet colleagues from across the Group. It is always helpful and reassuring to meet staff in the same role in different schools and United Learning provides an excellent mechanism for this. Through attending a United Learning conference on KS3 English marking, I had the pleasure of visiting William Hulme’s Grammar School in Manchester to meet colleagues, share best practice and also, to see some imaginative, innovative teaching. This kind of visit is particularly valuable because it shows me the perspectives of other Middle Leaders doing similar work. While we have a very strong and inclusive staff body at Surbiton, it’s always beneficial to meet with others who teach your subject and discuss curriculum, marking, exam boards and the challenges we all face.
I was Head of Community Service at my last school and gained some valuable experience in line management, but the United Learning training has been particularly helpful in further developing my understanding in HR and management.
The induction process at Surbiton High School was helpful, supportive and gave me all the assistance I needed. The work-life balance provided by the job is manageable, and it improves every year as my experience grows. You quickly learn what to expect at different points of the academic year and to live your life accordingly. The school itself is a positive and nurturing environment for both students and staff and I feel lucky to be surrounded by highly skilled colleagues. I feel privileged to work in an organisation that provides high quality professional development opportunities.”
Head of Humanities, The Regis School
“When I was at school and had a truly inspirational history teacher, I realised I wanted a career in education, and it's something I have never regretted. I've always chosen to work in schools where I believe I can make a difference to the futures and life chances of my pupils, and at The Regis School, we are on a very clear journey of progress."
As Head of Humanities I have a large management role, overseeing 12 colleagues, including three Assistant Heads, but I am still able to teach History and stay engaged with my subject. Since arriving at the school, I have felt very well supported by colleagues. I attended the excellent ‘Best in Everyone Conference’ as part of my induction into the Group and began to get a real feel for the values and vision of United Learning. It was encouraging to meet other colleagues who were new to positions of leadership and to share our experiences, excitement and concerns!
The United Learning Middle Leadership Programme is training me in performance and team management skills that are genuinely useful on a day-to-day basis. The training is realistic and allows you to spend time with colleagues that have stood where you are now. One of my previous schools was an academy but I never felt that they understood the potential of collaboration. It’s very encouraging to see the investment United Learning puts into Continuing Professional Development. It’s also very comforting that, in a national group, I have the opportunity to move around the country to other United Learning schools should my family circumstances make that necessary. But for now, I'm very happy at The Regis School and look forward to continuing my career here.”